According to candidate Raicho Markov, euroscepticism is growing in Bulgaria and the biggest culprit of such a movement is the EU itself. The founder of the Bulgaria of Labour and Reason party told Express.co.uk that Brussels’ failure to provide economic assistance to member states at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as the sluggish vaccine rollout in the bloc, has shown Bulgarians the EU’s “true colours”.
He said: “The EU’s management of vaccines was a total failure and it showed that once more health care for profit doesn’t work.
“You see these private companies, they couldn’t deliver when needed so people saw it, of course.
“And the economic support provided by the European Union was none.
“At the same time in US, the federal government spent all together almost $6 trillion, and helped all the people in with businesses.
“In Bulgaria, there was nothing and the European Union relied on issuing another debt.
“And all the so-called help they want to provide hasn’t been distributed yet.
“It is going to be paid back with interests to the private money markets.
“So no, Bulgarian people are not satisfied.
“When this pandemic arrived, they saw the true colours of the EU’s solidarity.
“Each country was left to itself and forced to think about itself not the others.
The interim government is considering offering incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said on Sunday.
Bulgaria is one of the few countries where people can choose between four different Covid vaccines approved in the European Union.
Still, only 14.5 percent of Bulgarian adults are fully vaccinated, putting the country far behind its EU peers.
On top of a general mistrust of authorities in the former communist country, Bulgarians often cite a fear of new medical products as their reason for refusing the vaccination.
Another reason is that about 400,000 people have already been infected and developed resistance.
Mr Yanev said: “We do not plan to force anyone. But we are considering the possibility to offer people who are getting the second shot some vouchers.”
Sofia has opened special vaccination units in parks to make it easier for busy people to get a shot and is planning campaigns in Roma neighbourhoods to try to convince those communities of the benefits of the vaccines.
Failure to boost vaccine uptake may force the country to destroy shots that are nearing their expiration dates.
Mr Yanev said Bulgaria may face such a risk at the end of August and was working with Brussels to see how it may also donate some 150,000 shots to western Balkan countries.
The interim government will stay in office until a new one is formed after Sunday’s election.